The rabble podcast network offers an alternative take on politics, entertainment, society, stories, community and life in general. All opinions belong to the podcaster; however, podcasters are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new podcasters -- contact us for details.

Music and grassroots politics in Montreal

Like this article? rabble is reader-supported journalism. Chip in to keep stories like these coming.

On this week's episode of Talking Radical Radio, I speak with Stefan Christoff. He is both a long-time organizer in a range of grassroots movements in Montreal as well as a musician, mostly a pianist. He sees strong connections between the movements in which he is active and music, including music that does not carry its politics in words, and today he explains those connections.

Mostly, when you think about the intersection of music and radical politics, what comes to mind is music in which the lyrical content conveys the politics – from Public Enemy to Ani Difranco, Rage Against the Machine to Paul Robeson, Kinnie Starr to Asian Dub Foundation, and so much more. And certainly for Christoff, punk and post-punk music, for example, were an important influence in his younger years. Yet after he moved to Montreal and became active in organizing in the community on a wide range of issues -- from police brutality to global justice, solidarity with the Palestinian people to anti-capitalism -- Christoff combined a growing interest in instrumental performance with a sense that we neglect the imaginative, creative, even spiritual side of ourselves in movement contexts at our peril. He came to see such music, particularly collaborative composition and performance, as a way to bring people together, as a way to cultivate expansive visions of a transformed future, and as a way of nurturing that spiritual side, and what he variously describes as the "dream-based aspects of activism" and the "imagintiave zone of activism."

Christoff speaks with me about his organizing, his music, and the way in which, for him, they so radically intertwine. As well, we'll discuss a few specific musical/political projects -- including Duets for Abdelrazik, Regard sur le 7e feu, and a duet project with Egyptian-Canadian musician Sam Shalabi called Flying Street -- and hear a couple of brief excerpts.

To learn more about Christoff's work, you can follow him on Twitter or Soundcloud.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada. We give you the chance to hear many different people that are facing many different struggles talk about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it, in the belief that such listening is a crucial step in strengthening all of our efforts to change the world. To learn more about the show in general, visit its website here. You can learn about suggesting topics for future shows here.

Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Hamilton (formerly Sudbury), Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.

Thank you for reading this story...

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all. But media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our only supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help.

If everyone who visits rabble and likes it chipped in a couple of dollars per month, our future would be much more secure and we could do much more: like the things our readers tell us they want to see more of: more staff reporters and more work to complete the upgrade of our website.

We’re asking if you could make a donation, right now, to set rabble on solid footing in 2017.

Make a donation.Become a monthly supporter.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.